After two straight defeats, Everton manager Sean Dyche took questions 2 days before a crucial home tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers. With time running out to reinforce his striking options, injuries mounting and a worrying performance last time out, the tension was palpable even through a screen.
Fitness and transfer updates
Choosing to lead with the bad news, the manager took questions regarding the availability of a number of players. Unsurprisingly, the most sought update was on Dominic Calvert Lewin: the forward will be assessed for a cheekbone injury tomorrow and will definitely miss out this weekend.
Alex Iwobi will be out for “not days” with a hamstring injury and Jack Patterson has begun training on the grass but not yet with the squad. No update was given on Dwight McNeil.
With unrest building amongst supporters and the striker situation an ongoing issue for 2 years now, it was perhaps surprising that Dyche didn’t take the opportunity to offer reassurance on recruitment. Instead, he opted for flippant remarks about signing Harry Kane and the state of the transfer market. When pressed on the wisdom of signing Youseff Chermiti, whom Dyche seems unwilling to test in the Premier League, Dyche responded by saying “We do the deals we can do”.
Attitude and opposition
Predictably, the assembled journalists wanted answers as to the source of the extremely troubling collapse against Aston Villa. Choosing to characterise the 4-0 mauling as “An off day all round”, Dyche continued that it looked like his players “weren’t up for it”. Why they weren’t up for it remained unsaid,
Everton, he conceded, need to show “more physicality, more edge” going forward. “We knew there was a lot of work to be done when we came here.” he continued, and argued that “we have to change the story and that starts on the pitch.”
Questioned as to whether fans could expect to see different players given a chance to impress this weekend, Dyche was somewhat evasive. Jarrad Branthwaite probably won’t start owing to him “missing a few weeks of pre-season”. Again, James Garner missing the same amount of preparation for the same reason (winning the U21 European Championships) and starting both of this season’s games was unaddressed.
After a mixed start for Saturday’s visitors, Dyche refused to be drawn on what he expected from Wolves. “We can’t guarantee their performance, we need to guarantee ours.” The press conference was, all in all, a cagey, guarded affair that will have done little to assuage Evertonians’ fears.